“Don’t say you don’t have enough time or enough money to change the world. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Gandhi, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci and Jesus Christ.” ― Shannon L. Alder
If you are like me, you have been bothered by excuses at some point of your life or another.
It seems that when things are going great, those pesky excuses come creeping back.
You make great progress and then you hit a wall of excuses and resistance.
Do you ever wonder about the deeper nature of excuses that we make?
Here are some effective way to inspire yourself to get beyond excuses:
1. Excuses or Results: The Choice
“Excuses are the nails used to build a house of failure.” – Don Wilder
To live an excuses free life, we have to ask the question if we want excuses or if we sincerely desire results.
When you feel conflicted about generating results, often you may make excuses.
This is the time that we need to ask if the results we are seeking align with our higher purpose and goals.
Often we create a sense and feeling of resistance when goals misalign with purpose, thus paving the road to excuses.
“Lie to yourself if you want, but you’re not fooling me. Your excuses tell me that you didn’t really want it.” ― Steve Maraboli
2. Becoming Aware of the Type Of Excuses in Your Life
“Kick the crutch out from under your excuses” ― Lorii Myers, Make It Happen
There are many levels of excuses.
Some people make excuses and turn it into a habit.
Their excuses trickle from one part of their life to another.
When we make it a habit to put everything off for later or make excuses, we are living crisis to crisis.
We are dealing with crisis as it happens because we are never ahead in the game.
Occasional And Selective Excuses
This happens when you make excuses in some parts of your life and not in others.
It is always best to ask the hard questions and get into real reasons that you might be making the excuses.
For example, if you are a blogger and you want to make e-books and put out video courses. But, you never get around to doing what you would like to do.
You may justify it as being a lack of time but is that the real reason?
When you go deeper, you may uncover other reasons.
Reasons such as:
- Lack of self-belief
- Lack of self-trust
- Inability to deal with criticism or feedback
- Fear of failure
- Not knowing how to move forward
“If you don’t want to do something, one excuse is as good as another.” – Yiddish Proverb
Excuses for not Taking The Big Leap: Ninja excuses
These are the subtle excuses that keep you in your zone of comfort and do not allow you to take the BIG leap.
The best way to uncover these excuses is to see of you are justifying the comfort zone that you have achieved.
You are fine where you are and do not want to jump into the next level of success or excellence.
According to Gay Hendricks, the author of the book, The Big Leap, these excuses are common even in high achievers.
People usually have a thermostat of success that they put in place for their life.
Getting more success than specified by the thermostat causes the internal meter to panic. We generate subtle excuses when the thermostat is off and cause self-sabotage.
How else could you explain lottery winners who end up bankrupt after making a fortune?
They were well off to begin with but the lottery pushes them past their thermostat for success.
“Once your excuses are gone, you will simply have to settle for being awesome!” ― Lorii Myers, No Excuses, The Fit Mind-Fit Body Strategy Book
3. Developing Willpower And Focus
“Excuses fall silent behind self-control, focus, and direction.” ― Lorii Myers, No Excuses, The Fit Mind-Fit Body Strategy Book
The best way to get through excuses is to have focus and direction as Lorii Myers points out in her book, No Excuses.
I believe that when you are doing too many tasks at the same time, it is easy for some of them to fall through the cracks.
The solution is to develop self-control to focus on a few high priority tasks and projects.
When you are entering the realm of excuses, ask if your focus is diffuse and if your will power is weak.
Research has shown that will power is exhaustible. It is best to do the tasks that you are making excuses on when you have the greatest willpower.
For some that may be the morning and for some it may be the evening.
You may be experiencing excuses because you are leaving the less pleasant tasks for later on.
When you leave the difficult tasks for later, you have little will power and direction available as a resource.
What are you focusing on today?
“I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took an excuse.” -Florence Nightingale
4. Taking Responsibility
“And oftentimes excusing of a fault Doth make the fault the worse by the excuse. ”- William Shakespeare
Sometimes, we allow excuses to go free because we are feeling shy of taking complete responsibility for our lives.
When you live by the idea that you are willing to step in and do what it takes to get beyond excuses, you usually do.
Do not wait for others to step in and solve problems.
Take responsibility for your life and begin by calling out those excuses.
5. The Way Forward: Is It Too Complicated?
“It’s called an ‘accomplishment’, not an ‘intent-ishment’. You’ve got to BE it to SEE it. NO MORE EXCUSES – Decide what you want, create a plan, and get your ass out there!” ― Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You
Do you have the steps forward clearly outlined?
This is the stage when many people resort to excuses.
Sometimes, you have the best intentions to complete a task or a project but you do not know how to move forward.
These are the “how,” the “when” and the “what” questions.
When a barrage of choices confront you, it causes analysis paralysis.
In the absence of a clear path forward, many people just rationalize away their inaction.
You may be collecting more data.
You may be doing some more research or trying to get some ideas on how to move forward.
You justify not taking immediate forward motion because you feel like you are not ready.
The easiest solution:
You need to have a forward motion plan that is so easy to implement that it becomes a no-brainer.
This is similar to “scripting the critical moves” idea by Dan and Chip Heath in their book, Switch. The need to be simple and implementable for forward progress.
Remember that at this stage of uncertainty, having to do too many thinking and maneuvering steps will lead to excuses.
Uncertainty+ lack of clear forward direction +complicated choices= Great chance of Excuses
“Uncomplicate it. Don’t make excuses. Some of life’s biggest heartaches come from missed opportunities and lame excuses. Don’t miss out on what could be the best chapter in your life because you’re too busy rereading the last one.” ― Kandi Steiner, Song Chaser
6. Excuses and Connections
“Never make excuses. Your friends don’t need them and your foes won’t believe them.” ― John Wooden
Excuses are particularly harmful to our relationships and connections.
When we make excuses, what do the other people in our life think about us?
- We are unreliable.
- We cannot be trusted.
- We are not responsible.
- We are flaky.
- We should not be taken seriously.
I think that it is a big price to pay to sustain those excuses.
The bottom-line with relationships is that, if we say something, we should follow through.
7. The One Question
“At the end of the day, let there be no excuses, no explanations, no regrets.” ― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free
There is one question that I ask myself to bust through the fog of excuses when they tie me down.
This is the similar question that Steve Jobs asked in his Stanford commencement and many books have addressed.
“When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”- Steve Jobs, Stanford Commencement
The question is: When my time on this planet comes to a close, will I regret not going for my dreams and goals?
Will I regret all the excuses that I am making today on that day?
Will I still make those excuses if I live pretending today was the last day of my life?
I know that when that question comes up, the answer is clear.
Ditch the excuses and go for it.
8. Are You Afraid Of Blame, Fear Or Shame?
“No one will ever blame you for trying to get it right.” ― Lorii Myers, Make It Happen
We make the most creative excuses when we have hidden guilt, shame and fear embedded deep inside.
You may be afraid of getting blamed for taking initiative and doing the work.
It is a lot safer to make excuses and assign the blame to time, age, intelligence and other factors.
Fear is one of the major reasons that people make excuses.
The problem is that the mind generates a lot of the fear and guilt as a defense mechanism.
It is your mind telling you to be safer and more cautious because you may make mistakes.
“We turned into each other’s best excuse for not doing the things we were afraid of.” ― Tracy Guzeman, The Gravity of Birds
Remember that fear and guilt and feeling blamed are conditional responses.
You may have trained yourself to fear the uncertain and avoid blame. But your true nature is one of limitless courage and radiance.
Choose to not attach too much meaning to the fear, blame and other difficult emotions.
You will deal better with going through excuses when you unhook your attention from these difficult states.
The next time you are making excuses because you are afraid, ask if that state is your true nature. Are you anticipating defeat and the worst-case scenario and making excuses?
“Let the fires of truth burn away your false life and your excuses, fears, blaming, doubts and illusions of insignificance.”― Bryant McGill, Simple Reminders: Inspiration for Living Your Best Life
9. The Power Of Engagement And Action
“And do you know why we have not the power to attain this Stoic ideal? It is because we refuse to believe in our power. Nay, of a surety, there is something else which plays a part: it is because we are in love with our vices; we uphold them and prefer to make excuses for them rather than shake them off. We mortals have been endowed with sufficient strength by nature, if only we use this strength, if only we concentrate our powers and rouse them all to help us or at least not to hinder us. The reason is unwillingness, the excuse, inability.” ― Seneca, Letters from a Stoic
There is nothing that goes through the fog of excuses better than taking consistent action.
Transform taking action into a habit on the things that you have been putting off.
Consider the reason why taking action is a problem for you.
You may have problem taking action on your excuses because:
1. You think that the problems are bigger than they really are.
2. You approach a huge task or problem and get overwhelmed.
3. You are uncertain about the results of that action.
4. You remain indecisive because deciding means committing.
5. Constant Action= Constant Change. Are you comfortable with change?
6. You are taking on too much at one time. Why not work on it in small steps? If you want to learn photography, instead of finding an hour and failing, try finding 10 minutes and learning just 1 tip.
7. Remind yourself of the need to take action. Yes, you may forget to take action!
“Do it today! It will spare you the effort of finding excuses tomorrow.” ― Steve Maraboli
Small steps + Consistency + Habit +Intention + No Excuses Mindset = Great Action And Success
“Don’t make excuses — make good.” -Elbert Hubbard
Now over to you!
Did the post resonate with you?
What are some of the ways that you get beyond excuses?
Please let me know in the comments below!